Drug Use is on the Rise
Substance Use Disorder is “The Public Health Crisis of the 21st Century”. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) statistics indicate that over 600,000 Americans have died from overdose since 2002. This figure includes 73,000 who died in 2017 alone. Based on these figures, The New York Times has stated that death due to opiate/heroin overdose is now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of fifty (50) years old.
Delaware is no exception to this public health crisis. In 2014 we lost 186 Delawareans to opiate/heroin overdose. The number of deaths increased by twenty-two (22%) percent in 2015, to 228 deaths. The trend continued upward in 2017 with an additional twelve (12%) percent increase, with 345 lives lost, up from 308 deaths in 2016. The figures may have been even higher had we not passed community and police access to the life-saving medication naloxone. There were 82 documented lives saved by the community and police in the first full year these laws were implemented..
All is not hopeless here in Delaware. As a state we have been an early adapter in making significant changes to policy. We now have a 911 Good Samaritan Law that allows 911 be called if someone is in medical distress. The call can be made without fear of arrest, charge or prosecution for the caller and individual in distress. This also applies to instances of underage drinking. Naloxone has now become increasingly available to volunteer fire companies, by community training, over the counter in pharmacies without a prescription.
Please contact us to find out more about Substance Use Disorder and our continuing effort to institute positive, effective policy change to help our most vulnerable.
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